The Earth Is Full by Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times, June 7, 2011 …we are currently growing at a rate that is using up the Earth’s resources far faster than they can be sustainably replenished, so we are eating into the future. Right now, global growth is using about 1.5 Earths.…That is what happens when one generation in one country lives at 150 percent of sustainable capacity….…the consumer-driven growth model is broken and we have to move to a more happiness-driven growth model, based on people working less and owning less.
U.S. Ranks at the Bottom of Child Well-Being Salon.com / By Katie McDonough, April 12, 2013 – The United States ranked in the bottom four of a United Nations report on child well-being. Among 29 countries, America landed second from the bottom in child poverty and held a similarly dismal position when it came to “child life satisfaction.” Keeping the U.S. company at the bottom of the report, which gauged material well-being, overall health, access to housing and education, were Lithuania, Latvia and Romania, three of the poorest countries in the survey….But don’t feel too discouraged, fellow Americans! As the International Business Times notes , the U.S. has managed to take first place in plenty of other surveys conducted by global organizations: The United States is No. 1 on many other lists: It spends more on the military than the next 12 nations on the list combined; it’s the best in the world at imprisoning people; and it has the most obese people, the highest divorce rate, and the highest rate of both illicit and prescription drug use.
Why our children’s future no longer looks so bright By Robert J. Samuelson, Washington Post, October 16, 2011— A specter haunts America: downward mobility. Every generation, we believe, should live better than its predecessor…But these expectations could be dashed. For young Americans, the future could be dimmer …Our children’s futures have been heavily mortgaged…The future is never entirely predictable, but downward mobility is not just a scary sound bite. It’s a real possibility.
The Decade of Lost Children by Charles M. Blow, New York Times, August 5, 2011
The Rise and Fall of the American Childhood By Colin Greer,AlterNet, July 19, 2012 -From the 1930s to 1980, childhood in America became a cherished space for youngsters to grow in. After 1980, and with increasing furor, that space has been under assault and childhood terribly compromised. Look at what we once did and what we’re now doing.The Rise: Child labor laws, Civil rights protections for all children., Full and secure employment for parents. Play as a mode of learning. Early childhood as a time to invest in child development through stimulating play…Access to quality education on an unprecedented scale…The US moved toward universal inclusion from elementary through post-secondary education.Yet once these gains were fully established in the top rungs of society, they began to shut down for the nation’s children as a whole. For 50 years, the pendulum swung toward protecting children and guaranteeing a childhood for all; then it began to swing back when less than half of the population had securely achieved these benefits. So despite the language of “going too far” in the direction of a protective, even a “nanny state,” we have never in fact gone far enough for the least privileged of us…Children in poor and immigrant communities are actually working — on the land and in sweatshops — despite our laws to the contrary. Children in this population have less than a 10% chance of a college education. Hunger and homelessness among these children is at shockingly high levels….The need for both parents to work in the face of not only economic downturns, but the demand for higher productivity from American workers and lower public benefits, puts the lives of children under stresses that we once aimed to eradicate.In describing both the rise and fall of American childhood, I’ve quoted no data for two reasons. One, it is all out there. It’s in the press and in the professional literature for all to find. Two, the gathering of data seems to make no difference to public behavior and public policy.Perhaps it’s time instead for each of us to imagine just one child, one who looks like a child you know and love. Each of these children is the bearer of the accumulated loss summarized in the Rise and Fall.
Old vs. Young By David Leonhardt …one dividing line has actually received too little attention. It’s the line between young and old……economic slump of the last decade…has still taken a much higher toll on the young…The wealth gap between households headed by someone over 65 and those headed by someone under 35 … gap in homeownership… income gap is also at a recorded high…the young are generally losing out to the old….more than 50 percent of federal benefits flow to the 13 percent of the population over 65…education spending — the area that the young say should be cut the least, polls show — is taking deep cuts… Hammered by the economic downturn…They wish the country would devote more attention to its future, especially on education and the climate. They, of course, will have to live with that future.
Our Three Bombs by Thomas Friedman, New York Times, October 7, 2009-…Today’s youth are growing up in the shadow of three bombs — any one of which could go off at any time and set in motion a truly nonlinear, radical change in the trajectory of their lives.
The first, of course, is still the nuclear threat…But there are now two other bombs our children have hanging over them: the debt bomb and the climate bomb…when one ecosystem collapses, it can trigger unpredictable changes in others that could alter our whole world.
The same is true with America’s debt bomb… it would surely diminish our government’s ability to make public investments and just as surely diminish our children’s standard of living…we’re in effect putting our kids’ future in the hands of the two most merciless forces on the planet: the Market and Mother Nature…we also need to act. If we don’t, we will be leaving our children to the tender mercies of the Market and Mother Nature alone to shape their futures